Fans of Game of Thrones were introduced to the Dornish with Oberyn Martell back in season 4, and since then the southernmost country and its people have become subjects of scrutiny due to the many ways they're portrayed differently in the books. Oberyn himself became a fan-favorite immediately upon his introduction, only to be brutally murdered at the hands of The Mountain during Tyrion Lannister's trial by combat. However, other members of the Martell family and the Dornish plotline in general generally aren't viewed as favorably when compared to the books. Of the many discrepancies between the show and the George R.R. Martin books, here are 10 facts about the Dornish the show leaves out.
10 Doran Martell Has Three Children
In Game of Thrones, when Elia Martell and the rest of the Sand Snakes decide to murder Doran Martell and his heir, she only needs to contend with Doran's son, Trystane. In the books, it's more complicated. Whereas the show only portrays a single son of Doran Martell, A Song of Ice and Fire brings a total of three Martell heirs into the fold. The oldest is Arianne Martell, then there's the middle child, Quentyn, and finally, Trystane. The additional offspring add another layer of complexity to the entire Dorne plotline decidedly missing from the television adaptation.
9 Doran Martell Plans To Restore Targaryen Rule
It's easy to forgive fans of Game of Thrones for casting Doran Martell aside as a passive, incompetent ruler in Dorne. He doesn't seem particularly interested in avenging his brother Oberyn's death, and he seems content with Baratheons ruling King's Landing. But in the books, he patiently, quietly, plans to rebel against the Crown and restore power in King's Landing to the Targaryens. Doran is also still alive and well in the books, giving him the chance to play a role in bringing down Tommen Baratheon and seating a Targaryen on the Iron Throne.
8 They Were The Only Kingdom To Resist Aegon Targaryen
When Aegon Targaryen I took to the skies with his sisters, Rhaenys and Visenya, and their dragons, he trampled resistance from the kingdoms and their ruling houses. The only nation to successfully fend off his conquest and maintain control over its land was Dorne. By refusing to meet the Targaryen forces in an open field, the Dornish were able to fend off several Targaryen attacks and retain their independence. In the Conquest of Dorne, the Dornish initially surrendered to multiple attacks by the Targaryens, but rebel forces continued to resist until the Targaryens eventually withdrew their forces.
7 Oberyn Martell Once Rebelled Against Robert Baratheon
During Robert's Rebellion, which preceded the events of Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister sacked King's Landing and ordered Gregor Clegane to murder Elia Martell and her children. This obviously devastated and infuriated Elia's sister, Oberyn Martell, who blamed not just Tywin but King Robert, for his sister and her children's deaths. In retaliation, Oberyn attempted to unite the Dornish lords against Baratheon rule and give the Iron Throne to Viserys Targaryen, Daenerys's brother. However, when Hand of the King Jon Arryn arrived at Sunspear to reconcile the Crown's differences with Dorne, Lord Doran Martell agreed to put a stop to Oberyn's would-be rebellion.
6 Doran Martell Positioned His Daughter To Become Queen
Contrary to the show, Prince Doran Martell once had big plans for his family to rule the Seven Kingdoms. When his daughter, Arianne Martell (who doesn't appear in the show), discovered that Doran was planning for her younger brother to surpass her in the Dornish ruling succession, she was crushed. However, it would later be revealed that Doran had even bigger plans for his eldest daughter. Instead of ruling Dorne, she was betrothed, without her knowledge, to Viserys Targaryen. Doran's plan was to rebel against the Crown and seat Viserys on the Iron Throne with Arianne Martell as Queen. As we all know now, that plan crumbled when Khal Drogo brought Viserys to his demise under a "golden crown."
5 Elia Martell Has A Child Named Aegon Targaryen
One of the most impactful revelations in Game of Thrones' sixth season, and indeed the story as a whole, is Jon Snow's real name and parents. By revealing that Jon Snow is, in fact, the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, the story firmly positions "Aegon Targaryen" as the rightful heir to the Seven Kingdoms.
However, the books complicate things further by revealing that Rhaegar had a son with Elia Martell, named Aegon Targaryen. Perhaps in order to simplify the plot, Game of Thrones omits this central character from A Song of Ice and Fire and instead names Jon Snow Aegon Targaryen. Readers expect for Jon Snow to soon be officially revealed as Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark's son in the books, but it isn't clear what he was named.
4 Arianne Martell Planned For Myrcella To Be Queen
In both the show and books, Oberyn Martell's bastard daughters become enraged by Doran Martell's lackluster response to Oberyn's death at the hands of Gregor Clegane, the Mountain. However, instead of plotting to murder Myrcella Baratheon (Lannister) in revenge, Arianne Martell attempts to unseat Tommen Baratheon and crown Myrcella as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, effectively pitting Baratheon against Baratheon and waging war on the crown. However, Arianne is soon thwarted by Areo Hotah and imprisoned for her rebellion.
3 Quentyn Martell Tries To Marry Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys Targaryen has a number of suitors in Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire, but one potential suitor from the books is missing entirely from the show. Quentyn Martell is the oldest son of Prince Doran Martell, and at one point the young prince tries his luck with the Mother of Dragons. When Viserys's death foils a Dornish plot to wed Arianne Martell and Viserys, Quentyn takes the opportunity to propose he and Daenerys instead become King and Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Unfortunately for Quentyn, Daenerys already had plans to marry Hizdahr zo Loraq, ending any potential engagement between Daenerys and Quentyn.
2 There Are Eight Sand Snakes
The Sand Snakes are Oberyn Martell's bastard daughters, their collective name a reference to the Dornish bastard "Sand" title as well as Oberyn's nickname, The Red Viper. Game of Thrones portrays the Sand Snakes as a dangerous, vengeful force, but in the books they're even more formidable. It's debatable whether the Sand Snakes in the books are more clever and better-suited for battle, but it's a fact that they're a bigger threat in the books simply due to there being more of them. In A Song of Ice and Fire, there are a total of eight Sand Snakes, as opposed to the three portrayed in the show.
1 The Dornish Only Maim Myrcella
Myrcella Baratheon meets her end in season 6 of Game of Thrones when Elia Martell poisons her with a deadly kiss. However, in the books she's very much alive (although not well at all.) In a chaotic confrontation between Myrcella's personal guard, Arys Oakheart, and Doran Martell's guardsmen, Myrcella narrowly escapes death on horseback. Still, she's left with a severe wound to the face and a missing ear. Myrcella is last seen en route to King's Landing at her brother, King Tommen's, request.